Sacrificing Success for Contentment

Written By: anonymous - Jul• 01•12

Liz has not recovered from her performance at the Hen Do.

“Why didn’t you stop me?” she wails.

Jane lets out a loud snigger. “Are you joking? It was the best entertainment we had had in years!”

“But you were supposed to protect me!”

“We stopped the Policemen arresting you didn’t we? Even though you did attack that fat girl.”

“I didn’t attack her. I was defending Alex.”

“You hurled a sceptre at her.”

“To stop her from crushing him to death!”

“Do you think a court would have believed that? A strapping young man, in the prime of his life, needed your protection from a short, dumpy little girl?”

“She had tattoos!” Liz squeals.  As if having tattoos is tantamount to being commando trained. She looks to Alex for support. He has, thus far, been v quiet on the subject of his ‘rescue’.

“She was a lot stronger than me,” he admits, rather sheepishly.

“See!” Liz seizes on this. “He needed my help.”

“Yes,” Jane nods, “To gently pull her off; to reason with her; to calm things down, not harpoon her with a sceptre!”

This causes more hilarity, especially when Liz tries to bribe us not to tell Dan about her exploits.

“His Stag Do was all about art galleries, Champagne bars and poker,” she sighs.

“Really?” Alex pulls a face. “Then I’m glad I opted to go on the Hen Do. That was much more rock n roll!”

Aside from Liz’s embarrassment; the hen do was a roaring success. Everyone had a marvellous time; the hens are all, now, firm friends; and Natasha has, even, asked us to help with her speech (although Liz doesn’t know it yet).

Meanwhile, back in the real world of drudgery and despair (i.e. CWS) Selina is continuing her assault on partnership (or, simply, on the partners, as Jane observes). To our astonishment she has been invited on client trips to Queens Club and Royal Ascot.  The rest of us don’t get so much as a lunch invitation out of them so, Jane decides to stir things up by telling Tarquin.

“Are you going to Queens or Ascot?” she asks him.

He scowls at her. “No, why do you ask?”

“Oh,” she feigns surprise. “Selina is going to both, one with The Boss, one with Philip and Clive.”

“She is?” He scowls some more.

“Apparently. I don’t know how she has managed to inveigle herself in with them so quickly…”

“She is attractive.”

“Is she?” she feigns surprise, “She wears so much make up it’s hard to tell. And she does have rather a large nose….”

But while Selina may be impressing the partners with her attributes she has definitely not been impressing Margaret.

“What a vacuous bimbo!” She doesn’t mince her words. “I had to tell her five times how to use the bloody IT system and, then, I caught her asking Kevin!  Then, when we sent her to a meeting with some of our suppliers and she turned up giggling and asking them what she was supposed to say!”

“What are you going to do?” I ask.

“I’m making a note of everything,” she tells me, “but she has lavished a lot of attention on my boss. He seems bewitched by her, ahem, charms. Every time I say something he says she’s just settling in and I should give her a chance!”

“I’m so sorry about all of this,” I tell her, “If there is anything I can do back here, on the quiet, let me know. I had made good progress on the assessment; I could, at least guide you through the rest of it.”

“Thanks,” she says. “We may have to do that, just to get it done, but I don’t want that dim-witted dolly bird to take the credit for any of it!”

No, me neither. But, then, I am used to it.

I shuffle off to the kitchen to make a cup of tea; only to find that Jane has stuck a photo of Liz (in full Queen costume) on the notice board.

“She will kill you,” I tell her.

“Oh, come on,” she laughs. “She should be grateful I have only used the before photos and not the mug shots. She looks perfectly sober in this one.”

But that doesn’t stop The Boss from using it to his advantage; summoning her into his office for “a word”.

“Ah, Queen Elizabeth,” he greets her. “How nice of you to take a break from your Royal duties.”

“Yes,” she agrees, uncertainly.

“I hope you will find time for a little fee earning, in between planning the wedding and opening The Olympics.”

“Yes,” she says again.

“Good,” he nods. “I should hate to see you neglect your day job, you know, because when the wedding cake has been eaten, the bouquet has been thrown and the honeymoon is over, your chargeable targets will still be there waiting for you.”

“I am perfectly well aware of that, Alistair.”

“Well, good,” he smiles. “Because I should hate to think of you forfeiting your career for a few weeks of Champagne and confetti.”

“I am not planning to do that.”

“Glad to hear it. There is nothing worse than sacrificing success for contentment.”

Not that he would know. We all think he keeps his wife in a cellar. Either that or she’s run off with her tennis coach.

“No….” she agrees.

“And don’t go all mushy eyed about babies, either,” he goes on. “They are illogical, demanding and they deprive you of sleep.”

Not unlike partners in City law firms……..


A Royal Embarrassment

Written By: anonymous - Jun• 11•12

It was the biggest weekend of the year: HM The Queen celebrated 60 years on the throne and Liz finally held her Hen Do.

Of the two events: the Jubilee was probably easier to organise. Still, we all made it to Windsor in one piece.  No one got lost or mislaid on the way.  And, then, we  all were assembled, in the B&B initiating Liz into the ceremony. To mark the occasion Jane bought her a crown, a cloak and an orb and sceptre (and, of course, an L-plate).The Moulin Rouge theme has been scrapped owing to a sudden (and mysterious) lack of enthusiasm from the rest of the group (Jane reckoned that Natasha nobbled them). But, never mind, Plan B (come as a member of the Royal Family) was easier. There were an assortment of Kate’s, a couple of Camilla’s, a Queen Mum, a Beatrice, a Margaret, a Zara and, even, a Prince Harry (Alex) whilst Jane and I battled it out for the black-sheep award as Wallis and Diana, respectively.

It was an odd combination but Liz seemed pleased.

“Queen for the day!” She put on her crown and paraded around the foyer. “I shall have you thrown in the Tower if you don’t behave.”

I think that applied, mostly, to Jane.

“You may have the crown, but we have the power,” she smirked.

“But don’t worry!” Natasha stepped in, “We won’t do anything nasty with it. This is going to be a sophisticated hen do. We are professionals after all.”

She flashed a pointed look in our direction, which provoked Jane into a loud, contemptuous guffaw. I jabbed her in the ribs and snatched the rest of the Hen paraphernalia to silence her.

“Queen Elizabeth the Third,” I crown Liz. “Welcome to your long awaited Hen Do. A host of extravagant entertainments await you. But you will have to trust your loyal ladies in waiting to guide you.”

“I wouldn’t trust you lot with anything!”

“No? We thought not. Do you stuff, Alex!”

Before she could protest, Alex threw the blindfold over her head. “Hold my hand,” he commanded. “We are going on a little walk.”

“Where to?”

“That depends on how obedient you are.”

Drawing some very curious looks from the tourists (and even a few picture requests), we guided her through the town towards the river where our Royal Barge awaited us.

“Ta da!” he whipped off the blindfold to present the tiny pleasure cruiser which would be our launch for the next few hours.

“Am I having a Flotilla?” she laughed.

“A Flotilla of one,” he told her. “Now, please board, Your Majesty, your subjects are waiting.”

We clambered aboard as the poor Captain looked on in astonishment. “I had no idea that this was a Royal Appointment!”

Alex slips on a CD of coronation music as unpack our quintessentially British picnic (egg sandwiches, sausage rolls and crisps.) Liz was allowed to enjoy her lunch (with lashings of Champagne!) before we launched into our first challenge: the Mr and MRs quiz, which she got spectacularly wrong.

“What is Dan’s favourite colour?”



“Same thing!”

“Fraid not. You have just incurred your first forfeit. Please select a card.”

“Not fair!” She protested but pulled out the card nearest to her, which Jane read out. “Demonstrate a position of the Karma Sutra.”

Natasha is aghast. “You can’t do that!”

“Why not?” Jane laughed. “She might need it for her wedding night.”

But before anyone can say anything more Liz is on the floor with one of her legs behind her head. She looked so ridiculous and everyone was so shocked that a roar of laughter went up, even from Natasha.

“I bet Windsor has never seen a Queen behave like that before!” Alex is happily snapping away.

And indeed it hasn’t. As the afternoon wears on she went through at least another twelve forfeits; everything from singing Spice Girls songs to mooning passers-by.  The Captain was visibly traumatised by the time we disembark.

Next stop the cocktail bar, where Jane decided it was time to give Liz her special presents. First up is Alex, who had (clearly) been rummaging about his favourite Soho stores to produce the skimpiest outfit ever manufactured. A few bits of fishnet and the odd safety pin.

“There are more holes than fabric,” Jane remarked.

“Precisely” he screamed. “You’ll have to get Dan to model it, Liz; they are all the rage in the Gay clubs at the moment. You’ll love it!”

“He might model it for me, he’s not going to model it for you!” she laughed.


“Can anyone follow that?” I asked the group. Surprisingly Natasha stepped forward.

“I think I can; this one is for you. If Dan can do fishnet, you can do latex!”

Jane’s eyes almost popped out of her head. Natasha and latex! Has she had a bit too much Champagne? We watched in astonishment as Liz ripped the parcel open. Inside there lay a pair of pink rubber washing-up gloves. Aha.

“Handy as well as alluring,” she modelled them.

“You could make Dan wear both,” I suggested, “Then he really would be a fantasy figure.”

“Absolutely!” she giggled so much she almost fell off her chair.

It’s hard to beat those two triumphs but she soon managed to acquire a selection of edible thongs, willy-shaped chocolates, sex dice, nipple tassels and, even, a new inflatable husband (from Jane and me).

Jane and I have kept the cocktails flowing and Natasha seems to have loosened up considerably. In fact, so much so that by the time we moved on to “I Have Never” she is admitting to all sorts of unlikely indiscretions.

“I have never been involved in a love-triangle!”

This was a turn up for the books.

“I have never had sex on a beach!”

Blimey! Only a few could match that achievement. And, then, most shocking of all:

“I have never had an affair with the British High Commissioner!”

And no one could beat that one. Not even Jane.

So we gave her some more cocktails and she told us all about it; the life of an international development officer is way more exciting than we had thought. Then we all headed off to the 80s club to relive our misspent youth.  It was an orgy of big hair and shoulder pads. My Diana costume fits right in. When we arrived “Xanadu” was playing and, within seconds, Liz was podium dancing.

“I love this song!” And in a fit of enthusiasm she launched her sceptre off the balcony to where we were dancing below. “Woooooo!”

Alex caught it but not before it had (almost) harpooned an enormous girl in pink.

“Oi!” she wheeled round to face him.  “What you playin’ at?!”

“Sorry!” he giggled. “My friend got a bit carried away.”

“She could ‘ave killed me!”

“I don’t think so girlfriend,” he told her, “Not with this bit of tat.”

To demonstrate its flimsiness he waved it around in front of her. But she grabbed it and they began to tussle. Next minute, they were on the floor rolling around, grappling for the sceptre. Then, out of nowhere, Liz appeared and flung herself into the melee.  “Get off Prince Harry!”

It didn’t take long for the bouncers to turn up. Seconds later we found ourselves bundled into a side door and out into an alleyway where the local Police were waiting. Great.

“Evening your royal highnesses’,” a small beady-eyed constable gave us the once over.

“Good evening officer,” Liz replied. She still had her haughty Queen-face on. “Not only am I a Royal Highness I am also a Solicitor of the Supreme Court of England and Wales!”

“Really?” He smirked. “Then can you explain why you were brawling on the floor of a nightclub?”

“I was not brawling!” she protested. “I was defending my grandson and retrieving my sceptre!”

“I see,” I pretend to take notes. “Do you think a Magistrate would believe that?”

“I don’t care what a Magistrate would believe! It’s the truth! And, besides, I’m Queen, I can do what I like!”

He cast a weary look in our direction. “I suggest you take your friend back to her hotel and put her to bed.”

“I am not staying in a hotel! I live in Windsor Castle!”

“Ok then, take her back to the Castle. Either that, or she can spend a night in the cells.”

I could see that Jane was tempted to choose the latter, so I grabbed her arm.

“Come on,” I told her “You have had such a nice weekend, we don’t want you to end up being imprisoned and struck off. Imagine what the papers would say.”

“You’re right!” she gasped. “I don’t want to discredit the monarchy and the legal profession in one evening.”

No, one or the other is perfectly all right, but both would be overdoing it.


Hen Dos and Hen Don’ts

Written By: anonymous - May• 21•12

Liz’s hen do is almost upon us and her chief bridesmaid has returned from Bukina Faso.  We know this because the minute she returned she began e-mailing on an epic scale.

Re Liz’s Hen Do.

First: thanks for Helen and Jane for organising the event in my absence. It’s nigh on impossible to arrange anything from Ouagadougou, never mind the field where it’s hard enough to get clean water and medicine; never mind WiFi and Vodafone services! But, anyway, I don’t want to bang on about my work (!) the purpose of this message is to thank everyone for coming along and to let you all know that, now I’m back I have lots of time to plan the entertainment. I have come up with a few ideas as to what we could do. I thought it would be nice if we created a “memory book”. I’d be grateful if you could send me any nice photos you have of Liz – or Liz and Dan – so I can sort them into an album full of lovely memories that they can look at and cherish.  Then, on the day itself, I thought we could, also, adopt an African idea of telling a touching story about the bride to be; the good things she has done; why she is your friend; what you wish her for the future etc. So, get your thinking caps on! And finally, I thought we might each bring along a small present to remind her of what married life is all about; something to represent each of the marriage vows: loving, honouring, cherishing, sickness, health etc. I hope that’s clear.  I’ll write more soon. KR Natasha.”


It doesn’t take long to bring Jane storming in to my room.

“Has Natasha never been to a Hen Do?!” Without pausing for my reply she slumps into my visitor’s chair and continues to rant. “Clearly not or she would know that they do not involve ‘memory books’ and ‘touching stories’! Who wants a hen do like that for god’s sake?  I can’t imagine anything worse than all my friends sitting around and telling each other how great I am! Can you?” No, but that’s because hell would need to freeze over first. “Hen dos need alcohol and embarrassment,” she goes on, “They are about silly costumes and stupid dares, not group hugs and campfire songs!  Liz knows she is going to be the butt of everyone’s jokes. She’s prepared for it. She knows it’s meant with affection. She would be shocked if we all turned up now and started praising her virtues. She would be suspicious!” Certainly she would be if Jane did that. “And as for the presents! Words fail me! If she thinks I’m buying anything other than novelty handcuffs, chocolate body paint or willy-shaped drinking straws she can think again! That’s what Liz will be expecting and that is what she will receive. We cannot let Natasha hijack everything Helen. She swans back from feeding the sick and healing the lame and thinks she can just take over. Well, she’s can’t. She may be Chief Bridesmaid but she relinquished her role as Chief Hen Do Co-ordinator when she suggested coracle making. We saved this event and we are not going to let her ruin it again!”

I offer her a wine gum and nod sagely.

“Perhaps we can come to some sort of compromise with her. You may be right: she may never have been to a hen do before.” Certainly not one which Jane would recognise. “She’s probably just doing what she thinks is right.”

“Well, she might have spoken to us first. Now everyone will be busy thinking up happy stories and finding soppy photos when they should be hunting for silly costumes and novelty sex toys!”

“Shall I speak to her?”

She nods. “I’m too cross to be civil.”


I manage to find five minutes between witness statements and billing to make a call. She answers, all breathless and excited. “Hello Natasha speaking!”

“Hi Natasha it’s Helen Bailey here.”

“Oh hi Helen! Sorry it took a while to answer, I was just finishing my morning yoga.”

“Right, well I won’t keep you. It’s just about the hen do.”

“Oh yeah?”

And then I realise I have absolutely no idea what I am going to say! “Er, yeah, well, er, the thing is, we really like your idea of the memory book but, er, well, in your absence we have already planned quite a lot of activities for the guests and we, er, well, we are not sure we will have time for the story-telling session as well.”

“Oh, well, what sort of activities have you got planned?”

“We have a few games planned.”

“Oh I love games! Which ones are you thinking of?”

“Well, we were planning our own version of Mr and Mrs, where we get Dan to fill in a questionnaire and then we test Liz on how much she knows about him.” I leave out the bit about forfeits if she gets them wrong.

“That sounds great!” she exclaims.

“Yeah,” I agree, “Then we have an 80s quiz and some silly little parlour games (like I Have Never!) and then we would finish off with a present giving ceremony where we all buy her something useful for married life.”

“Like gardening books?”

No, like novelty sex toys. “Yes, that sort of thing.”

“Well, that sounds great. I’m sure we can fit everything in.”

“Perhaps, but if not, maybe we could the storytelling til the end, at least.”

“Ok, maybe we can do that later in the evening when everyone is winding down.”

“Yeah.” If they haven’t passed out.

“Ok, well, then we’re agreed. Is there anything else?”

“Just one thing; Jane and Alex have chosen a theme for the evening based on Liz’s favourite film.”

“Gone with the Wind?” she says, excitedly.

“Moulin Rouge,” I tell her.

“Oh!” She sounds crestfallen. ”She used to adore Scarlet O’Hara….”

“Well, perhaps she did when she was seventeen,” I offer, “but tastes move on.”

“I guess so,” she sighs. “So, now she likes films about freaks and concubines.”

“Yeah, but, don’t worry;” I joke, “we’re not expecting anyone to re-enact it.”

“I should hope not!” she exclaims. “I don’t think we should go cavorting about Windsor doing the can can.”

“No,” I agree, “The Queen wouldn’t like it.” Although I bet Prince Philip would.

“All we’re suggesting is a few feather boas and a bit of absinthe. And no one is going to die of consumption, so don’t worry.”

“I’ll try not to,” she agrees. “But I promised Liz’s mother that it would be a civilised, sophisticated affair. She doesn’t want her daughter getting arrested.”

Then it’s a good thing she is not coming. “Oh, don’t worry!” I lie, “There is no danger of that!”

Nope, cos with Alex and Jane in charge, getting arrested will be the least of her worries.







Lady Millions

Written By: anonymous - May• 01•12


Selina arrives in a haze of “Lady Millions” perfume. We know this because Liz is reviewing wedding scents and has more free samples than an Avon Lady. She can name any perfume at fifty paces.

“And her choice of signature scent says it all,” she says, knowingly.

But to be honest, the perfume is far less troubling than the vacant thousand-yard stare she wears whenever we’re in sight; contrasted with the cool, seductive giggle she uses on the partners; or the low, breathy voice she reserves especially for The Boss. Add them to the
short, clingy outfits she sports and, in the temptress stakes, she makes
Miranda look like a rank amateur.

“That outfit definitely contravenes the dress code,” Jane sniffs. “If her skirt was any shorter it
would be a belt. And that shirt is so low cut it could be almost slices her in

In contrast we three, in our button-up black ensembles, look like we’ve taken holy orders.

“She’s just being fashionable,” Alex makes a big mistake and tries to defend her.

“Not you as well?” Jane rolls her eyes.

“What do you mean?”

“I mean: she seems to have entranced all the men in the team.”

“I’m not entranced, I just think she’s all right. We  went for a coffee
and she seemed really friendly.”

“You went for coffee?” All three of us are staring at him now.

“Yeah,” he shrugs. “She invited me yesterday afternoon. She seems really keen to get to know everyone and figure out how the department works.”

I bet she does.

“Don’t you think it a little odd that she is sharing a room with me and, yet, she has not taken me our for a coffee?” asks Jane.

“Not really,” he shakes his head. “If she’s sharing a room with you she probably knows all she needs to know about you!”

This is a fair point.

“Have you spoken to her yet?” Liz asks.

“Yes, of course I have,” she snaps. “I told her where the toilets are and I showed her the fire exit.”

Alex sniggers in triumph. “I rest my case!”

“Yeah, well, even if she knows my position, she hasn’t asked Helen or Liz for coffee either.”

“No,” we shake our heads. “Nor Siobhan, nor Jenny nor any of the other females in the team.”

“Well, if you’re all talking about her behind her back I’m not surprised she hasn’t asked you. Poor Selina.”

And with that, he flounces off to seek out his new best friend.  I have my
own encounter with her later, when she pops in to, “discuss her secondment.”

She takes a seat in my visitors chair, crosses her legs and stares at me like Bambi.

“So,” she begins, “I understand that you were recalled to the office, and I’ve been asked to take over.”

“I wouldn’t put it quite like that,” I smile, “The secondment was shortened by Philip Carlton, the Corporate partner. He wanted one of his minions to take over, so I came back. But the
minino didn’t last very long and now they’re sending you.”

“I see…..” She clearly doesn’t. “So is there anything I need to know?”

“You will have to read our Risk Assessment. And then you have to implement it.
Carlton should be able to let you have what we’ve done so far.”

“I see……what exactly is a risk assessment?”

Oh good lord. “It’s a review of potential business hazards.”

I’m about to say more and then I think: sod it! Why should I help her? Let Carlton find out what a bimbo she is. But then I remember Margaret and I feel bad. Damn them!

“What sort of hazards?” she asks.

“All sorts: from health & safety concerns to pensions problems. We reviewed them all and it will be your job to implement our recommendations.”

“And how will I do that?”

By using your brain, if you can find it. “By following our advice and liaising with the company.”

“I see….” She flicks her hair over her left shoulder and smiles. “Well, thank you, I’ll let you know if I need any more help.”

“Of course,” I smile and, as soon as she’s gone, immediately call Margaret.

“I’m so sorry,” I tell her. “My replacement is not the brightest star in the sky.”

“I know,” she says flatly. “Carlton brought her to meet us this morning.”

She is doing the rounds.

“Oh!” I exclaim, “She has just been to see me; she made no mention of that. In fact, she came to find out what it was she would be doing.”

“Did you say: my job?”

“Sort of, I told her the background and explained about how she would be implementing the risk assessment recommendations.  Then she asked me what a risk assessment is.”

I can hear Margaret groaning at the end of the line. “I explained all of that to her this morning.”

“I’m sorry,” I say again.

“It’s not your fault. Carlton is to blame for this.”

And a whole lot more.

“She and he seemed very cosy,” she adds. “The two of them took my boss out to lunch. He came back singing her praises as well.”

“She has an extraordinary effect on men. They are all falling over themselves to please her here.”

She groans again. “What would it take to get rid of her and bring you back?”

“The untimely death of Philip Carlton,” I suggest.

“Ok, I’ll see what I can do.”

And for a moment, I think she is serious.




A New Danger

Written By: anonymous - Apr• 15•12

Jane has tried all the tricks in the book to avoid sharing her office again, but, alas, she has failed.

“I hope Caroline contracts a nasty, disfiguring disease. She wantonly withheld information from me!”

She failed to tell Jane about the new arrival. To be honest, I don’t blame her. The more information Jane has the more trouble she causes with it.  Already I’m feeling a bit sorry for the new girl.

“What did she say?” I ask, but don’t really care.

“That she didn’t need to consult me and that there was nowhere else to put her. But what about that desk outside Clive’s office?” The one where the fax machine sits. “Or the one next to the paralegal area?” Where the post trays reside.

“You can’t really expect her to sit there,” I point out. “She is a fee earner; she should have a proper work station.”

“And so she can, just not in my room!”

I can’t believe she hasn’t moved on from this. She was just the same when Dan joined (it took her six months to even acknowledge him and a year before she allowed him to speak to her.)

But I have bigger concerns to worry about.  My brush with Carlton has unnerved me. And I don’t know what to do.  I try telling Liz but she’s so busy with her wedding preparations that she barely hears.

“He grabbed you? Oh, that’s terrible. Do you think we should have Chablis or Riesling with the first course?”


“Good choice.”

Of course, I daren’t tell Jane. The mood she is in, she’s likely to firebomb the next partners’ meeting. And Alex is distracted with a trial.  So, I say nothing and hope that it will all just go away.  He’s upstairs on the Corporate floor, I tell myself, I hardly ever see him and, besides, he was drunk and he’s probably really embarrassed now.

Meanwhile, the Assistant’s Grapevine passes on some interesting news about our new girl.  I have coffee with a friend of mine from another firm, who used to work with her.

“She is very ambitious,” she tells me.

“That’s par for the course these days,” I point out. “We’re all part of the Apprentice Generation; thrusting and pushing our way to the top.”

“True,” she smiles, “I guess we all have to use whatever talents god gave us. She certainly likes to spread them around; she’s only a few years qualified but she’s worked at three firms already; and she’s rumoured to have slept with her boss in each one…”

“No!” My hand flies to my mouth.

“Yes!” she nods. “She isn’t afraid to mix business with pleasure. To be honest, she has to, she no discernible legal abilities to promote.”

She sounds like a great asset to the team.

“She is going to share a room with Jane,” I tell her.

“Scary Jane?!” She is, temporarily, speechless. “Wow. That’s like putting Eva Peron in a room with Germaine Greer!”

Well that should be interesting.  I promise to report back on how it goes and head back to the office to tell Jane the good news. “I don’t want some partner-fondling floozy using my office as a knocking shop!” she declares.

“There isn’t a lot you can do to stop it,” I point out.

“Yes there is. I shall keep a constant vigil against fornication. If she wants to stroke their ‘egos’ she will have to find a hotel.”

I think she is missing the point. “It’s not just your office we need to worry about. It that’s her modus operandi, she will change the whole dynamic of the team.”

“Not really,” she huffs. “We already Miranda; she’s not much different.”

“But Miranda is a partner; she has never been a threat to us in any way (a witch yes, but not a threat). Selina is pure competition.”

She hasn’t thought of this. “You’re right!” she agrees. “There has never been rudeness or backstabbing between us Assistants (except Tarquin, but he’s crap at it and no one takes any notice). because we get enough of it from the Partners.”

“Precisely,” I agree. “We don’t need it from within our own ranks. The only advantage we have over them is our unity and teamwork.”

“You mean our extensive network of spies and infiltrators?”

“Well, I wouldn’t put it quite like that… but, yes, our shared intelligence (and mutual suffering) keeps us ahead of the game. We cannot afford to have a double agent in our midst.”

“No,” she agrees.  “We shall have to find a way to isolate and neutralise her.”

I am still wondering what, exactly, Jane means by this, when I get a phone call from Margaret.

“Who the hell is Selina Smith?” she asks.

“She’s the new girl, in our team,” I explain. “Why do you ask?”

“I have just been told that she’s your replacement here!”

“What?!” My blood runs cold.

“I thought you were recalled to Litigation because you were so busy there. They were going to use someone from Corporate?”

“So did I!”

So if they can spare her, why can’t they spare you?”

A very good question.  Which I decide to put to The Boss.

“I hear the new girl is going to take up my secondment?”

“It was never your secondment Helen, but, anyway, yes, she is. She’s new, she hasn’t got any cases yet, it’s the perfect solution.”

“She could have my cases.”

He fixes me with his ‘don’t argue’ face. “You know the cases; you know the department; we need you here.”

But I haven’t finished.

“I know the placement; I know the project; it makes no sense to swap me half way through!”

“It may not make any sense to you; but it makes perfect sense to me and Philip.“

“What about the client?” I persist. “I’m sure the people I’ve been working with would prefer to have me.”

“Philip has cleared it with the client,” he tells me. “The matter is closed: Selina will take over.”

Little does he know, now true this statement will be.